October is Breast Cancer Awareness month which encourages people to take part in early detection of the disease. 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime and early detection provides a 100% 5 year survival rate. Finding out early makes sense in this disease! Talk to your primary care provider on what you can do to participate in early detection.
As most people are already aware, breast cancer not only affects women but can affect men. Knowing your body and its changes is important to picking up on early signs of cancer. In addition to monthly self-breast exams and annual physicals by your health care provider, getting a screening mammogram is recommended for women over the age of 40. Earlier testing is recommended if you have higher risk with a family history of breast cancer or have clinical signs that deserve a work up.
Patient reluctance to mammogram testing include concerns about pain during the test, costs, and fear of results. The pain involved in mammogram testing is temporary and is a small price to pay for potentially catching a deadly disease. Most people are surprised on how affordable even cash-pay mammograms actually cost. During the month of October, screening facilities offer deals (even for less than $100). Most insurance companies will pay for an annual screening test as well. The benefit to finding out about early disease is that treatment options are highly effective with the 5 year survival rate of 100% if early, localized disease is found.
Don’t procrastinate anymore. Talk to your healthcare provider about what you can do to detect early disease during your next visit or annual physical, where most preventative screening is discussed.